by Ken Gimblin
SACRAMENTO–The anti Sacramento arena group Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed To Pork or STOP have admitted that of the over 22,000 signatures to put a ballot measure asking voters should the city use public subsidies for any new sports facilities and this would include the new Kings arena project at the cost of $258 million are not sure of those signatures whose are legitimate.
Stop’s spokesman John Hyde said of the signatures, “we really have no idea who these people are” and admitted that some of the forms that STOP had signed might have been submitted by people who never signed STOP’s petition in the first place. If it turns out to be so this will further damage STOP’s credibility as they were involved with Seattle hedge fund manager Chris Hansen who lost his bid to buy and move the Kings out of Sacramento to Seattle and now there’s questions as to the signatures of the petitions that their holding.
Hansen was fined for missing the registration deadline of filing the petitions for the ballot measure and had to pay a $50,000 fine to the department of elections. Hansen has since disavowed his involvement with the petition campaign despite sources saying Hansen had paid a Los Angeles law firm Loeb and Loeb to organize and represent the campaign.
Upon learning of Hansen’s dealings voters who signed the petition are now moving to have their names removed from the forms according the Joshua Wood of DowntownArena.org. Withdraw forms were submitted to the city clerk’s office. The city clerk is going through some 1,500 signatures to see if they are valid if proven to be valid it would increase the withdraw volume up to 3,100.
Wood said that the great number of withdraws are unprecedented and that it’s a reflection of Hansen’s involvement with the signature campaign and then backing out and saying he wasn’t a part of it and apologizing for being involved in the campaign. Hansen thought the better of it after the NBA said they were not please with his actions and that his credibility with the league was near shot over this in any future bid to get an NBA team.
The city council agreed to a subsidy on public funds back in March by barrowing off any future sales tax that will pay back the public funds from arena parking and city public parking, also from ticket and concession sales made at the new downtown arena.
Ken Gimblin is covering the Sacramento Kings with Charlie O and Tony Renteria for Sportstalk radio